Guantánamo

Ghana’s parliament says 2 freed Guantánamo detainees sent by Obama can stay

Lawmakers in Ghana have ratified an agreement that allows two former Guantánamo Bay detainees to stay in the West African country.

Ghana’s Supreme Court had ruled in June that the former president’s decision granting the former captives a place to start new lives in January 2016 had been unconstitutional, leaving it to the nation’s parliament to decide.

The state-owned Ghana News Agency reported Wednesday that parliament granted it’s approval, allowing the two Saudi-born Yemenis — Khalid al Dhuby and Mahmoud Omar Bin Atef — to remain in Ghana.

The two men were held at the U.S. Navy base in Cuba as enemy combatants who had training with al-Qaida and fought with the Taliban. They were never charged with a crime and Dhuby had been approved for release from Guantánamo since 2006 and Bin Atef since late 2009.

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Mahmoud Omar Bin Atef, born in 1979, in a Guantánamo prison photo provided to McClatchy by WikiLeaks.

But the United States won’t send former Guantánamo prisoners to Yemen because of instability there. Officials had to find another country to accept them.

They were the first transfers to sub-Saharan Africa, and their arrival stirred controversy there almost from the start. The Ghana Catholic Bishops Conference, the Christian Council of Ghana and the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council all openly protested and questioned whether the reception constituted a security risk.

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